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Aerial eradication of gypsy moth in Hamilton

MAF prepares for aerial eradication of gypsy moth in Hamilton

MAF will begin preparing for aerial eradication of gypsy moth in Hamilton following today’s decision by Cabinet to fund this programme.

An aerial eradication operation using small fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and a mass pheromone trapping programme, covering about 1,250 ha around the site of the original moth find will start in the first week of October, MAF’s Director of Forest Biosecurity Peter Thomson said today.

“MAF will work closely with the Hamilton community to reduce any inconvenience the aerial eradication operation may cause. MAF will also launch a comprehensive community information programme in the local media and by direct mail during the next few weeks to ensure Hamiltonians are aware of what will happen when the operation begins,” Peter Thomson said.

“There are a few people who consider aerial eradication an extreme measure because only one moth has been found. But the scientists MAF consulted believed this moth came from an egg mass and that there is a very high likelihood there will be others.

“Technical and scientific experts both here and overseas who were consulted on the best approach to eradicate gypsy moth recommended aerial treatment as the best eradication tool – complimented by the mass trapping programme. Overseas, mass trapping is considered to be a good control measure but is not seen as an effective eradication tool on its own.

“There have been lessons learned from the painted apple moth and that is one of the primary reasons prompt aerial eradication is being used in this case.

“It is recognised that aerial eradication may cause some short-term health impacts for a small number of people and a Health Support Service modelled on the one set up for the painted apple moth programme will be replicated in Hamilton,” Peter Thomson said.

If anyone requires further information they can contact the Forest Pest Information line on 0800 969696 or visit the web site at http:// http://www.maf.govt.nz/gypsy-moth.

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